Saturday, May 31, 2008

Follow the bouncing ball

Every once in a while, I forget to post a video for a couple weeks, at which point it has already become rather dated. That's the case again today, so before I get to the "old" news I'll share some fresh news with you. I went to the doctor yesterday for my year-old checkup, and got a clean bill of health. My updated stats: 32 inches, and 26 lbs. 4 oz. That means I lost a couple ounces from my last doctor's visit a few weeks ago for that ear infection and congestion (probably from all that prolonged standing and taking those first steps).

Speaking of a few weeks ago, that's pretty much when this "lost" video—in which I watch the neighbors toss a ball around—was taken...back before I was 1, or walking, or we owned our new camcorder. Still, it's cute, as it was taken during one of my first encounters with the grass, and all the pretty landscaping in our yard that Babcia and Dido have done such a beautiful job with.

And here it is. Don't worry about that coughing you hear—remember, I was still sick when this was taken. Like I said, it's an old video!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hello kitty

I'm been admiring animals from afar now for a couple months: visiting the pet store at the mall with Babcia and Dido, checking out a cat that wandered the resort in Turks & Caicos (above) and "talking" with dogs I encounter during my walks. But I haven't had many chances to get really close to one, until I crossed paths with Kenni, my friend Isabella's cat—or "kitsia" as they are called in Ukrainian. It was nice, but only up to a point...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flower girl

The first time I visited the famous iris gardens that are just a couple blocks away, I was only 10 days old.

How tiny I was! I slept through the whole visit that day. For my triumphant return on Monday (a few hours before I took my first steps), the irises were in full bloom...and so was I. The flowers were so pretty—me too!—that I'll just let the pictures and video do the talking.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Birthday bash, part 3

Hey, where did everyone go? Even after my birthday party—sniff!—ended on Sunday, the celebration continued the following day. Because I still had my birthday gifts to open!

Wow, all of this is for me? Cool!

Here's a montage of me opening my gifts. Someone got me the best gift ever: a piece of tape (there was wrapping paper and a present also, but you can't beat Scotch tape!). Then you see me play with Uncle Ryan's gift (a Sesame Street-themed remote). Finally, after opening all those gifts, I wanted even more—Mom's pen, for starters.

After my gifts were all opened, my birthday celebration finally came to a close. Dad asked me to sum it all up:

And there you have it. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with me, or sent wishes from afar. You made my big day that much more special!

Let's be sure and do it again next May when I turn 2!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Birthday bash, part 2

What would a birthday party be without birthday cake? And I had a lot to live up to, because I promised in my invitation that I would be wearing my birthday cake. Well I'm not one to make a promise that I can't keep...

After being inspired by my cousin Sophia's first birthday a few years ago, Mom baked me a tiny birthday cake of my very own. After everyone sang to me, I made a wish and blew out the candle (I wished that I could walk...and it came true the very next day!). Mom put the cake in front of me and let me go to town:

I was in an really good mood all day (and all weekend, in fact). I clowned around with anyone and everyone. Here I am with Babcia.

I also posed for a photo shoot with my photographer cousin Marissa. To show off a bit for everyone, I kept standing upright for a really long time.

Everyone was very impressed. Listen to everyone sigh as I start to drift down...and cheer when I pop back up!

Then it was back into the tunnels for more fun.

Those tunnels were a great birthday gift, Mom and Dad. And speaking of gifts, check back tomorrow for the third and final chapter in my birthday saga, featuring my presents!

Birthday bash, part 1

Whoever said that "one is the loneliest number" had no idea what they're talking about. Because the day I turned one was one of the best—and least lonely—days of my life! So many family and friends came over to help me celebrate my big day.

I knew the day was going to be great when Dad came home with lots of balloons...

I love, love, love balloons! I was excited to see them first in the morning, then again after the party when Dad corralled them all back inside. In fact, I even figured out how to get access to them myself.

And what do I love just as much as "ball"s (my word for balloons)? Actual balls! Mom and Dad didn't disappoint there either. They bought me a backyard maze of tunnels, that were filled with balls to play with. I, along with all the other kids, had fun both outside the tunnels...

...and inside.

As terrific as it was to see so many family and friends, I was especially happy to meet a few of my blog's most loyal readers for the first time. Here I am with Aunt Halina.

And then I met Audrey and her mom Kirsten, who grew up across the street from Mom when they were both little.

Audrey was nice enough to play with me in the tunnels.

We got along so well! And because I know how much Audrey likes to watch my videos here on the blog, I asked Dad to put Audrey in one of them. So here's a video of Audrey amd me playing together. At the end, Dad panned all around the backyard, so you can see all the well-wishers who were on hand for my birthday.

That's it for part 1. Look for part 2 later today, featuring...cake!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Look who's walking!

I was going to start blogging tonight about my incredible birthday party, but that will have to wait until tomorrow because I have breaking news to report: I took my first steps today! And better yet, we have it on video!

Some quick backstory: Mom and Dad thought I'd be walking months ago after all the standing I was doing, but once I got the hang of crawling, I completely lost interest in being upright. But that started to change last month, when everyone noticed that I was standing, unassisted, for several seconds at a time. Then last week, Dad saw me take a half-step once or twice, which indicated to him that I was getting prepped for walking. He's been trying to entice me to take a few steps ever since, but no dice. Finally, while having dinner at my friend Isabella's house, I took the bait and walked a couple steps. The first time I did it, Dad thought he had recorded me but was distressed to learn that he didn't get the footage. No worries: I repeated the feat again two more times (with a lot of coaxing and false starts in between). Mom and Dad were very excited, as you can imagine. I guess I was just holding out until I turned one; now there will be no stopping me!

And now, without further ado:

It's only a couple steps, I know, and I still prefer crawling for now. But just you wait: a month from now, I'll be zipping around everywhere!

I'll start blogging about my birthday bash tomorrow, so check back then.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

One year ago today, at 4:03 pm, the world was forever changed—for the better, if I do say so myself—when I came charging into it. It was some tough going at the beginning, both at the hospital and when I first got home with Mom and Dad, but it has been a spectacular year. I'd love to say it's a year that I'll never forget but we all know that's a lie.

I'm celebrating my big day with some family and friends—I sure hope there are balloons, or "ball"s, as I call them. But as my gift to you (see it's not always about me), I wanted to share this slideshow of my favorite photos from my first year (okay, maybe it is always about me). Enjoy watching me grow and blossom over the past 12 months, and I'll talk to you after the weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Graduation redux

I was trying to remember, how did I spend the Friday before Memorial Day weekend last year? Oh right...being born! But that's a conversation for Sunday. Let's finish off the week by sharing a few more photos and videos from the day of Aunt Jess's dental school graduation.

To get into Philly for the festivities, we all got onto a train. Choo-choooo!

I just loved catching up with Uncle Ryan, as you can see...

I kid, I kid! We had a blast together.

Before we left the dental school, we stopped by Aunt Jess's dentist chair, where she worked on patients from the clinic all year. I even found a tooth on the ground as a souvenir (kidding again).

Now on to the fun stuff. It took a whole year, but Dad finally got a real camcorder. Up until now, all my videos had been shot using the video setting on our digital camera. And while those videos look fine on YouTube and here on the blog, they don't look so great on TV. So the new camera is taking pretty high-def video, but don't worry—we're converting them to standard-def so you can still see them on YouTube (but from now on they'll be in widescreen). Eventually Dad will learn to edit things together and make everything super-entertaining, but for now he just put up some of the raw footage featuring moi. The first video contains two clips from the graduation itself. The dean's "welcome" remarks were booooooooring, so I had to come up with other ways to entertain myself. Then you see how excited I am to hear that Aunt Jess has officially graduated (and if you look closely, you might even spot her).

Then we have a few clips taken after graduation, when we were in a room at the dental school waiting for Aunt Jess to pick up an award, along with a nice check (that money could buy me a lot of toys, Aunt Jess!). First, I walked a bit with Uncle Ryan and crawled around; then I tried on Aunt Jess's graduation cap; then you see how successful Mom and Dad are at getting me to walk by myself (hint: not very, though I've been making progress this week).

And that's it. Hope you all have a great holiday weekend, and I hope to see a few of you on Sunday to celebrate my birthday. Which reminds me, make sure you all check in here on Sunday for a special birthday treat!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bunny business

We'll get back to the graduation later this week, but today I wanted to talk more about my weekend in Cherry Hill. First up, a health update: I went back to the doctor yesterday, and he gave me the good news that my ear infection is all gone. Hooray, no more gross-tasting amoxicillin!

This was my first trip to Cherry Hill in a couple months, and I got to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa (who I saw last week) and Aunt Jess, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Paula. Plus, there was lots of time for exploring. I rummaged through Grandma's kitchen cabinets (above), played with Dad's old baby toys and had a lively chat with the bunny I spotted out in Grandpa's garden.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is there a doctor in the house?

Well, there is now! Congratulations to my Aunt Jessica, who graduated from UPenn's School of Dentistry yesterday and is now officially a dentist! Do you think I can still call her Aunt Jess, or will she only answer to Dr. Jess now?

As excited and proud as I am of her, I'll be even more thrilled three years from now, when she becomes an orthodontist. Because Mom and Dad can already tell that my teeth are going to need a lot of work!

I'll write more about the graduation, and my weekend in Cherry Hill, later on.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trip to the dentist

Big things are on tap this weekend, which incidentally is my last weekend as an infant. We're going to Grandma and Grandpa's to celebrate my Aunt Jessica, who is graduating from UPenn Dental School on Monday. Perfect timing, now that so many of my teeth are starting to come in! I also hear that my Uncle Ryan (who hit a big birthday milestone today, so happy birthday!) and Aunt Paula will be making the trip too. That means I'm going to have lots of people doting on me, which is just the way I like it!

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Fla-Vor-Ice Ice baby

Just in time for summer, I've found myself a cool new teething treat. I get Mom or Dad to get me a Fla-Vor-Ice out of the freezer, and I start gnawing on the plastic covering.

I realize that's not the most entertaining video I've ever posted, but you can see just how serious I am about my Fla-Vor-Ice! It gets very cold so sometimes it's difficult to hold on to, but once it starts melting a bit I can really get to work.

I wonder what it would taste like if I ever got through the plastic, and into the pretty colors inside!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pots of gold

Mom and Dad often wonder why I insist on examining (I'm sure others would call it "messing up") everything I see. Here's why: over the weekend I was snooping around and came across this cardboard box on the front porch. I opened it up and voila...

Pots and pans for me to play with!

And look at myself in. And munch on. And bang on (hope you guys have earplugs!). Let that serve as a lesson to everyone: you never know what goodies you'll unearth, so it's best to (literally) leave no stone unturned.

Ask Julia: Turks & Caicos edition

I really wish I was back in Turks & Caicos with Mom and Dad! That's not happening anytime soon, so I'll have to make do with reliving the trip by answering your Ask Julia questions about my vacation. The first came from my friend Isabella:

It looks like you had so much fun on vacation! What was your favorite part?
I'd say it's a tie between going in the pool and meeting all the Sesame Street characters. My favorite moment of the trip would be the parade, which was probably the most excited I've ever been!

Mommy and I were reading your blog and I couldn't believe you were hanging out with Elmo. I didn't know he was real! I've seen him and all his friends on my diapers, but who knew they all really existed? I think my parents are holding out on me too! I'm so glad that we're friends and can keep each other in the know about important stuff like this.
Trust me, he's definitely real! (And by the way, so is the Easter Bunny, who I saw a bunch of times in the spring.)

Here's what Grandma asked me:

Grandpa and I are so happy you enjoyed your family beach vacation, including your many close encounters with the Sesame Street gang! I'm curious if you think your Mom and Dad will relent a bit now and let you view Sesame Street on TV, at least occasionally, so you can catch up with your new friends!
You would think so, but no, my TV viewing hasn't increased at all since we got back and I still haven't seen even a single moment of Sesame Street. Mom and Dad point out that I will probably be disappointed by simply watching my friends on TV after getting to interact with them in person. That's why they've already talked about taking me back to see them, not in Turks & Caicos (darn!) but at Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania. Dad says it has Sesame Street characters and pools, so what's not to like? Grover, I'll be catching up with you soon!

My final vacation questions came from Aunt Paula:

I have really enjoyed a whole week of Fantasy Island. I hate to see it come to an end. Do you think that you can talk your parents into more fun vacations soon?
As much as I loved the trip, I was very happy to be back home, so I'm content not to do any other big trips for awhile. I did hear that we might go on a smaller trip in a couple months, so that should be fun.

Were you the youngest child at the resort? Did you make any new friends besides Elmo and Grover?
While there were kids younger than me, I certainly was one of the younger kids there (keep in mind, however, that there were a lot of kids of all ages). And yes, I did make friends with people besides Elmo and Grover. Abby Cadabby, for one:

If you're talking about kids my age, yes, I did have contact with a few kids that I kept running into all week. I'm not really old enough to interact with them other than waving and saying "hi" but it was still nice to make friends.

I really liked all your bathing suits. Did you get a little sun tan?
Not on my face, as Mom and Dad kept that darn sunhat on the whole time, but I did get color on my arms and legs. Thankfully I did not get burned, so I'll begrudgingly admit that all that sunscreen Mom and Dad made me wear seems to have worked.

I am looking forward to seeing you next weekend. Do you think that we can play together? Do I have to dress up like one of the Sesame Street characters?
I sure hope that we play together, unless I'm in one of my moods where I don't warm up to people I haven't seen in a long while. But I had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa last weekend so let's hope for the best. If you dress like a Sesame Street character I'll probably be interested for a few minutes, but inevitably my attention will wander and I'll start focusing on something else. So it's probably not worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

State of playground

After weeks of my staring longingly at the box with my mini-playground set, Mom and Dad finally got the hint and assembled it for me. They tried to show me the finished product, but I was distracted but other objects.

Then they took me outside and let me test it out.

The verdict? My response is lukewarm for now. The swing and slide are very tiny—I prefer the big ones at the park. I think I'll get more out of this set in the summer when I can walk and should be able to navigate around it on my own. Until then, I'll pine for the good old days when it was still in its box.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Double down

This photo is for those of you who think, judging by the photos I post, that I smile all the time. Mom, Dad, Babcia and Dido call this my Abby expression, in honor of my cousin who flashes this scowl from time to time.

But I have very good reason to be unhappy, as I've been sick for about a month now. After staying out of the doctor's office (aside from scheduled checkups) almost all year, I've gone three times in the last three weeks, with another appointment scheduled on Wednesday. My nasal congestion spread to my chest, which accounts for my coughing the past couple weeks. That finally triggered a fever and double ear infection (that's two infections for the price of one!) last week. So now I have to eat this gross pink stuff called amoxicillin twice a day. They try and slip it into my food, but I know it's there. My fever is gone (though I'm still rubbing my ears), and now everyone is dealing with a very unpleasant side effect of the antibiotics: frequent, explosive dirty diapers. How explosive, you ask? Well, I'm actually soaking through my diapers and my clothes!

Needless to say, we all can't wait for this to pass, so hopefully I'll be all better in time for my birthday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom's the word

Because Mom has been so good to me over the past year, I knew she deserved the best Mother's Day gift ever. And I rose to the occasion, if I do say so myself. I broke my record for sleeping Saturday night, logging a whopping 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep (credit Grandpa for the assist, as he was the one who put me to sleep that night while Mom and Dad were out at a party). I slept from 8 at night to 8 in the morning. You're welcome, Mom!

I had other Mother's Day gifts to give out too, although when the time came to hand them off, I wanted the cards and presents all to myself.

My other gift for Mom was this bracelet, which I bought because I knew I'd get even more enjoyment out of it than she would.

It was great to celebrate the day with Mom, Babcia and Grandma (who came up for the weekend with Grandpa to watch me while Mom and Dad cleaned out the garage).

I had one last gift for Mom to complete the day. That makes three in all! Aren't I generous?

I hope Dad doesn't expect the same treatment for Father's Day next month!